Pallet Market Increasingly Important to the Lumber Industry Says Timcon

The UK pallet market is becoming ever more important to the sawmilling industry, delegates at a general meeting of the Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) heard last month.TimconLogo.jpg

Presenting the company’s latest study into the manufacture and repair of wood packaging, Nick Moore of Timbertrends said pallets and packaging were one of the leading market users of softwood, together consuming approximately one third of the softwood output of the larger sawmills alone.

Jointly funded by TIMCON and the Forestry Commission, this is the third year the Timbertrends report has measured developments in the timber pallet and packaging industry.

TIMCON president John Dye said: “Over recent years, the UK produced timber market share for UK pallets has increased significantly – a trend the latest Timbertrends report shows is ongoing. It illustrates the importance of our industry as a consumer of products from UK sawmilling. This is as a user of small logs and falling boards from larger logs; a vital element of the cascade model where every part of a harvested tree is used. It is also against the backdrop of weakened demand for timber from the construction industry.”

Dye stated that TIMCON would continue to keep the forest and sawmilling industries informed about developments in the packaging and pallets sector.

“We will be working particularly hard to keep sawmillers updated with discussions and timeline for a potential extension of ISPM 15 regulations in Europe,” he said. “A substantial increase in the demand for heat treated and kiln dried timber would require major investment by the sawmilling industry in handling equipment or pallet wood. In reality, such investment will not be made until a timeline for such a change is defined.

“The Timbertrends report is vital in helping the industry understand better the implications of a change in the ISPM 15 regulations.”

Dye added that TIMCON is consulting with the Forestry Commission to request special dispensation from the European Commission for the UK, for pallets that remain within the country, should such an extension take place.

“We are also talking to the FC about possible future changes to ISPM 15 regulations in the UK to ensure they reflect developments in Europe and that British industry is not put at a disadvantage,” he said.

The Timbertrends report indicates that between 2010 and the end of 2011, the percentage of UK produced timber used in the production of pallets and packaging grew by approximately 3 per cent, taking share from overseas sources. This increase comes on top of substantial import substitution by UK timber in the UK pallet market in recent years.

It also shows that pallet repairs continued to rise in 2011, with a total of 131,000 m3 timber used in repaired pallets, compared with 127,000 m3 the previous year. “The ongoing trend towards greater recovery of timber and repair of pallets is good news for the environment as a greater volume of timber is being used – and therefore storing carbon – for a longer period of time. Timber is recyclable, reusable and repairable, and this latest data provides further illustration of why timber continues to be the material of choice for more than 90 per cent of the pallets used in this country.

The general meeting also heard presentations on health and safety obligations by a representative of Peninsula and an update on TIMCON’s latest PR activities, including its link up with FEFPEB’s recently launched Packaging from Nature campaign to promote the benefits of timber in pallets and packaging across Europe.




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